With just four games left this season, two of those four will be played against the Northwest division rival Utah Jazz. The Wolves will play the Jazz in Utah tonight, they'll play Phoenix on Saturday at the Target Center, followed by the Jazz again on Monday at the Target Center before playing their season finale in San Antonio next Wednesday.
While the Minnesota Timberwolves will be going home for the summer in less than a week, while the Utah Jazz hope they won't be doing the same. Fifteen teams have clinched a playoff spot, while fourteen teams have been officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Jazz and the Lakers are still in a battle for that final spot.
The Jazz currently sit one full game behind the #8 Lakers. If the Jazz were to lose to the Wolves tonight and the Lakers beat the Warriors, then it would only take one more Jazz loss or one more Laker win to eliminate Utah from the playoffs.
The Jazz have just three games left and two of those will be against our Minnesota Timberwolves.
I feel a bit conflicted. I really, really don't like the Lakers and nothing would make me happier than to see Kobe Bryant & Dwight Howard miss the playoffs. At the same time, I don't want the Wolves to lose these games against the Jazz, a team they've struggled with recently.
The Wolves have lost six-straight in Utah and nine of eleven overall. In the most recent meeting on Feb. 13th, the Wolves lost 93-97. Ricky Rubio had 18pts, 9reb & 10ast while Derrick Williams added 24pts and a career-best 16 rebounds.
The Utah Jazz are looking to secure their 30th home win of the season in this game. This will be their last chance of the season as this will be their final game in Utah this season. The Wolves on the other hand, are looking for their 30th win of the season overall.
The Wolves will be without Kevin Love (hand/knee), Brandon Roy (knees) and Malcolm Lee for this one. The Jazz will be without their backup center Enes Kanter who underwent shoulder surgery recently and is out for the season. Alec Burks (ankle) and Marvin Williams (illness) both practiced on Thursday and should be able to play tonight. Jamaal Tinsley (wrist) is uncertain for tonight's game.
Let's take a look at tonight's probable starting lineups...
Paul Millsap has found a lot of success against the Wolves in recent meetings. The task of slowing him down will be left up to Derrick Williams. On Wednesday it was Derrick Williams' job to guard Blake Griffin. Within the first few minutes of action, Blake quickly tallied 10 of the Clippers' 18 points. We'll see if Millsap finds that early success in this one, too.
If the Wolves want a chance in this one, Ricky Rubio finding his shot wouldn't hurt, however the same could be said about Derrick Williams. Getting a 20-10 from Derrick, 20pts from Pek and another game from Rubio like the last time we faced Utah should ensure a victory. Don't count out a big game from Andrei Kirilenko as he makes his second return to Utah as a visitor.
Tipoff is set for 8pmCT, enjoy the game, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!